Roofing in Romania, Part II: Past as Prologue

[Editor’s Note: In May, Thomas W. Hutchinson presented a paper at the 2017 International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies (ICBEST) in Istanbul, Turkey, as did his good friend, Dr. Ana-Maria Dabija. After the conference, Hutchinson delivered a lecture to the architectural students at the University of Architecture in Bucharest, Romania, and spent several days touring Romania, exploring the country’s historic buildings and new architecture. Convinced that readers in the United States would appreciate information on how other countries treat roofing, he asked Dr. Dabija to report on roof systems in Romania. The first article, “Roofing in Romania: Lessons From the Past,” was published in the July/August issue of Roofing. In this follow-up article, Dr. Dabija continues her exploration of the forces shaping the architecture of Romania.]

A late 19th or early 20th century residential building in Bucharest. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

(Photo 1) A late 19th or early 20th century residential building in Bucharest. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

In buildings as well as in other fields of activity, there are at least three determinant factors in the choice of products:

  1. The technology. A key driving force is the technology that improves a product or system. Some systems are not at all new—the ones that use solar power, for instance—but are periodically forgotten and rediscovered; this is another story. The history of past performance is important here as well, as is the skill of the contractors installing the material or system. Technological advancements can mark important developments in industry, but the field is littered with “new and improved” products that never panned out, failed and are out of the market.
  2. The economy. The state of the economy is directly related to the state of the technology; better efficiency in the use of a type of resource leads to the use of more of that resource, as well as to a change of human behavior that adapts to the specific use of the resource. This dynamic is referred to as “the Jevons paradox” or “the rebound effect.” In a nutshell, William Stanley Jevons observed, in his 1865 book “The Coal Question,” that improvements in the way fuel is used increased the overall quantity of the utilized fuel: “It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.” On the other hand, it seems that innovation is mainly accomplished in periods of crisis, as a crisis obliges one to re-evaluate what one has and to make the best of it.
  3. The political will. As one of the great contemporary architects, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, stated, “Architecture is the will of the epoch translated into space.”

Like many other things, buildings can be read from the perspective of these factors. And so we go back to square one: history.

(Photo 2) Palace of the National Bank of Romania (1883-1900), designed by architects Cassien Bernard, Albert Galleron, Grigore Cerkez, and Constantin Băicoianu. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

Our excursion in the history of the roofing systems in Romania moves from the 19th century to the present. As mentioned in the previous article, the use of metal sheets and tiles began sometime in the late 17th century (although lead hydro-insulation seems to have been used in the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the sixth or seventh century, B.C.).

The Industrial Revolution that spread from the late 18th to the mid 19th century included the development of iron production processes, thus leading to the flourishing of a new range of building materials: the roofing products. The surfaces that can be covered with metal elements—tiles or sheets—span from low slopes to vertical. More complicated roofs appeared, sometimes combining different systems: pitched or curved roofs use tiles while low slopes are covered with flat sheets.

Copper, painted or galvanized common metal, zinc or other alloys cut in tiles and sheets, with different shapes or fixings—the metal roofs of the old buildings are a gift to us, from a generation that valued details more than we do, today (Photo 1).

(Photo 3) The Palace of the School of Architecture in Bucharest, designed by architect Grigore Cerchez. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

In the second half of the 19th century, in 1859, two of the historic Romanian provinces—Walachia and Moldova—united under the rule of a single reigning monarch, and, in 1866, a German prince, Karl, from the family of Hohenzollern, became king of the United Principalities. In 1877 the War of Independence set us free from the Turkish Empire and led to the birth of the new kingdom of Romania. The new political situation led to the need of developing administrative institutions as well as cultural institutions, which—in their turn—needed representative buildings to host them. In only a few decades these buildings rose in all the important cities throughout the country.

The influence of the French architecture style is very strong in this period as, in the beginning, architects that worked in Romania were either educated in Paris or came from there. It is the case with the Palace of the National Bank of Romania (Photo 2), designed by two French architects and two Romanian ones.

(Photo 4) A detail of the inner courtyard and roof at the Central School by architect Ion Mincu, 1890. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

The end of the 19th century is marked by the Art Nouveau movement throughout the whole world, with particular features in architecture revealing themselves in different European countries. In Romania, the style reinterprets the features of the architecture of the late 1600s, thus being called (how else?) the Neo-Romanian style. A few fabulous examples of this period that can be seen in Bucharest include the Palace of the School of Architecture (Photo 3), the Central School (Photo 4), the City Hall (Photo 5). Most of the roofs of this period use either clay tiles or metal tiles and metal sheets (Photos 6 and 7).

In parallel with the rise of the Art Nouveau style in Europe, the United States created the Chicago School, mainly in relation to high-rise office buildings. This movement was reinterpreted in the international Modernist period (between the two World Wars).

As a consequence of the Romanian participation in the First World War, in 1918 Basarabia (today a part of the Republic of Moldova, the previous Soviet state of Moldova), Bucovina (today partly in Ukraine) and Transylvania were united with Romania. The state was called Greater Romania. The capital city was Bucharest. Residential buildings as well as administrative buildings spread on both sides of the grand boulevards of the thirties, built in a genuine Romanian Modernist style (Photo 8).

(Photo 5) Bucharest City Hall, by architect Petre Antonescu 1906-1910. Photo Joe Mabel, Creative Commons Attribution.

Influences from the Chicago School are present in the roof types. Flat roofs began to be used, sometimes even provided with roof gardens (although none have survived to our day). It is probable that the hydro-insulation was a “layer cake” of melted bitumen, asphalt fabric and asphalt board, everything topped with a protection against UV and IR radiation. The “recipe” was mostly preserved and used until the mid-90s.

In the second half of the 20th century, the most common roofs were the bitumen membranes, installed layer after layer. Residential buildings and most administrative buildings had flat roofs. Still, in the center of the cities, more elaborate architecture was designed, so next to a church with a metallic roof, you might find a residential block of flats with pitched roofs covered with metal tiles, behind which the lofts are used as apartments (Photo 9).

Most of the urban mass dwellings, however, were provided with flat roofs (Photo 10). Even the famous House of the People (Photo 11)—the world’s second-largest building after the Pentagon—has flat roofs with the hydro-insulation made of bitumen (fabric and board layers).

(Photo 6) Residential buildings built in the late 19th or early 20th century in the center of Bucharest. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

Corrugated steel boards or fiberboards were mainly used in industrial buildings and sometimes in village dwellings, replacing the wooden shingles as a roofing solution that could be easily installed (Photo 12).

After 1989, when the communist block collapsed, products from all over the world entered the market. The residential segment of the market exploded, as wealthy people wanted to own houses and not apartments. Pitched roofs became an interesting option, and the conversion of the loft in living spaces was also promoted. Corrugated steel panels, with traditional or vivid colors, invaded the roofs, serving as a rapid solution both for new and older buildings that needed to be refurbished. Skylights, solar tunnels and solar panels also found their way onto the traditional roofs as the new developments continued (Photo 13).

Today the building design market is mainly divided between the residential market and the office-retail market. Where roofs are concerned, unlike the period that ended in 1989 (with a vast majority of buildings with flat roofs, insulated with bitumen layers), most individual dwellings and collective dwellings with a small number of floors (3-4) are provided with pitched roofs, mainly covered with corrugated steel panels.

(Photo 7) The Minovici Villa, architect Cristofi Cerchez, 1913. Photo: Camil Iamandescu, Creative Commons Attribution.

For the high-rise buildings, the bitumen membranes (APP as well as SBS) are still the most common option, but during the past decade, elastomeric polyurethane and vinyl coatings have also been installed, with varying degrees of success. EPDM membranes, more expensive than the modified bitumen ones, are used on a smaller scale. PVC membranes have also been a choice for architects, as in the case of the “Henry Coandă” Internațional Airport in Bucharest. Bitumen shingles also cover the McDonalds buildings and other steep-slope roofs. In the last few years, green roofs became more interesting so, more such solutions are beginning to grow on our buildings.

The roof is not only the system that protects a building against weathering; today it is an important support for devices that save or produce energy. It will always be the fifth façade of the building, and it will always represent a water leakage-sensitive component of the envelope that should be dealt with professionally and responsibly. To end the article with a witty irony, the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is supposed to have said, “If the roof doesn’t leak, the architect hasn’t been creative enough.”

(Photo 8) The Magheru Boulevard in Bucharest. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

(Photo 9) Apartment buildings of the late 20th century in Bucharest. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija

(Photo 10) Mass dwelling building of the mid-1980s. Photo: Ana-Maria Dabija.

(Photo 11) The House of the People (today the House of the Parliament) is still unfinished. The main architect is Anca Petrescu. Photo: Mihai Petre, Creative Commons Attricbution CC BY-SA 3.0.

(Photo 12) Corrugated fiberboard on a traditional house in the Northern part of Romania. Photo: Alexandru Stan.

(Photo 13) The roof of the historic building of the Palace of the School of Architecture, with skylights, sun tunnels and BIPV panels. Photo: Silviu Gheorghe.

Architectural Shingle Roofing System on New Field House Helps St. David’s Prepare for the Future

St. David’s Episcopal School’s new field house features an architectural shingle roof designed to provide long life and protection from algae growth. Photo: Atlas Roofing.

St. David’s Episcopal School’s new field house features an architectural shingle roof designed to provide long life and protection from algae growth. Photo: Atlas Roofing.

Originally founded in 1972 as a high school, St. David’s Episcopal School now serves students in pre-K programs all the way through graduation. Located on a wooded campus in suburban Raleigh, N.C., the school now attracts students from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and Cary. And as the student body grows, so does the campus of St. David’s.

The school’s facilities are being built with the future in mind, and when the decision was made to add a new athletic field house, durability and longevity were key factors in the decision-making process.

For the roof on the new complex, the school turned to Baker Roofing and Executive Vice President John Matthews, a parent of two St. David’s students who has worked with the school for the past decade. To ensure that the campus itself was built for longevity, Matthews selected 60 squares of Atlas Pinnacle Pristine shingles in Pristine Desert. Other products installed on the project include ProCut Hip & Ridge Shingles, ProCut Starter Shingles, and Summit 180 Synthetic Underlayment.

The architectural shingles feature Scotchgard Protector, which will help the field house maintain its appearance by resisting ugly black streaks caused by algae. In fact, more than 80 percent of the roofs in the U.S. are prone to algae invasion, so protection is the key to a long-lasting roof. “Having the Pinnacle Pristine shingles means the school will have the best protection and appearance,” Matthews says.

His personal relationship with St. David’s and his commitment to the donors who made the new construction possible meant that this project was especially important to Matthews. “The quality education provided by St. David’s is critical to shaping young lives,” he says. “With that in mind, it was essential I feel confident in the products we installed. Knowing that Atlas stands by its products made me sure of the roof the school would be receiving. The extended premium protection period on the Signature Select Roofing System gave everyone a lot of confidence in the decision to go with Atlas.”

When St. David’s Episcopal School in suburban Raleigh, N.C., decided to add a new athletic field house, durability and longevity were key factors in the decision-making process. Photo: Atlas Roofing.

When St. David’s Episcopal School in suburban Raleigh, N.C., decided to add a new athletic field house, durability and longevity were key factors in the decision-making process. Photo: Atlas Roofing.


On a campus where everything they do is geared toward the future, building a facility with longevity in mind is key. “Knowing my own children attend St. David’s and our family is a part of this community made it extremely important that the work we do and the materials we chose be of superior quality,” Matthews notes. “The Atlas system is a product that will ensure the building offers lasting protection and a beautiful appearance for years to come.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Baker Roofing Company, Raleigh, N.C., Bakerroofing.com
Roof System Manufacturer: Atlas Roofing, Atlasroofing.com

Paints, Coatings and Liquid Membranes

What are the differences among paints and roof coatings, and what are liquid-applied membranes? The purpose of this article is to define these products and systems to establish guidance for their selection and use and to identify what factors favor specifying a liquid-applied solution versus a prepared roofing solution.

    Paint: A finish where cosmetics are typically a primary attribute. Surface protection may also be a key selling point, but as a rule paint must look good. Paint is sold in specific sheen levels and in a broad range of colors. It usually has limited flexibility, but its hardness provides for exceptional weathering and colorfastness in a thin film.

    Coating: A protective film used to provide surface protection or other resistance property. Color range and appearance are determined completely by performance considerations. A coating generally has an elongation greater than 100 percent, good low-temperature flexibility, is high in solids, and requires a thicker film to achieve long-term weathering and waterproofing.

    Liquid-applied Membrane: A fully reinforced system composed of a fabric and one or more coatings or resins, used to encapsulate and adhere the reinforcement.

Paints, coatings, and liquid-applied membranes are all polymer-rich and share a few key attributes. They are usually based on resins that possess very good weathering resistance and are frequently cross-linked in some fashion to confer toughness and chemical resistance. They are somewhat over-engineered to compensate for the vagaries incumbent with field application.

Paints

Paint applications in roofing are almost exclusively used on steep-slope metal systems for aesthetic or reflective purposes. When metal comes painted from the factory, it is called an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) paint; these baked metal finishes are usually more durable than an aftermarket maintenance coating. Although not intended to improve the water shedding of the roof system, a metal roof may still benefit from the corrosion-inhibiting, temperature-reducing and eye-appealing properties of a paint job.

Steep-slope metal roofs are often important architectural details. Bare metal, despite its luster, has only moderate solar reflectivity and fairly poor emissivity, so it gets very hot. All paints, even dark ones, allow more heat to escape the metal, lowering the peak temperature of the roof. Paints with deep colors can employ special pigments that absorb less heat from the sun.

Most white roof paints are rated for their solar reflectivity and emissivity. Together, these values produce a Solar Reflective Index that can predict the peak surface temperature. In terms of cool roofing, no better improvement exists for metal than coating a rusting metal roof with a white coating. Often these roofs are not well insulated and, as they rust, they become less reflective, holding and conducting heat into the building, which dramatically increases the load on air conditioning. Ultimately, paint can be seen as the first step in a long-term maintenance program that might later involve coatings or membranes.

Coatings

Today, most coatings are based on acrylic, silicone or urethane resins. All seek to extend the service life of the existing roof and, as a rule, prevent the intrusion of water. To do this requires a much higher degree of crack bridging than found in paint. A coating must be able to protect a number of transitions that are subject to cyclical movement: flashing to the membrane, flashing to the structure, joints at protrusions and curbs, and any seams within the membrane. This implies an appropriate degree of low-temperature flexibility, substantial elongation and a thick film. A coating should never be used to overcome a structural issue and, while they must tolerate movement, coatings cannot overcome the limitations of an improperly engineered roof system.

Although many of today’s coatings are sold as part of a cool roof solution, in sunnier climates it is important to recognize that a coating shouldn’t be selected like a paint—strictly on appearance or reflectivity. A coating should provide robust barrier properties, starting with increased water resistance, and often include some combination of chemical resistance (plasticizers, oils, stack emissions) and resistance to abrasion, impact or vapor intrusion (water, oxygen, CO2).

Typically, coatings properties include tensile and elongation, values that are usually reported at standard temperature and humidity. Crack bridging is the key to performance; it’s a function of elongation at a low temperature, tear strength and film thickness. When a material is tested to an ASTM material standard, that protocol will include tear strength, a low-temperature flexibility test and some weathering values. Let’s examine the typical properties and explore what they mean and do not mean.

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The Language of Safety

The language of safety is like the language of love—it is universal, diverse and affects every company and employee that speaks another language other than English. Protecting your employees is a tremendous responsibility and should be taken seriously because it is the law, according to OSHA.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved. PHOTO: Safety by Design Consultant Services

Making sure all employees fully understand safety messages, the policies, procedures, instructions and safety training is critical in protecting their exposure to workplace hazards.

But what about the challenges of “speaking” safety when English is not your first language?

I’ve given this topic a great deal of thought since I returned from a roofing industry event in Chicago. There, our Hispanic Outreach Coordinator spoke at a safety session attended by many Hispanic/Latino employees.

She has served as an interpreter for several law firms who have defended/worked with Hispanic employees who have been injured on the job. In her presentation, she emphasized the importance of being trained in the language of the employee. She also believes that language-based training should extend to activities, such as tool box talks and documentation including safety manuals and written programs.

Another concern was that some employers use interpreters to convey the information during training or from the foreman when giving specific job-site instructions to the Hispanic/Latino or Polish employees. If the trainer/foreman is not bilingual, how does he/she know what is actually being translated and if it’s done in the appropriate context? The effort is appreciated, but the consequences could be extremely costly.

It’s also important to realize that employees who speak different languages may have a limited education or technical understanding which affects the learning process—enforcing the need to for a system to measure the effectiveness of training whether you’re in manufacturing, fabrication, automotive, construction, retail, food, railroad, recycling or logistics.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees are properly trained for their jobs and demonstrate that they fully comprehend and understand the information being presented to them. You cannot assume that your employees are comprehending the information because they simply sign a sheet of paper, sign into a training session or initial that they reviewed your safety manual.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, many Hispanic/Latino employees believe they are not being properly trained because they really don’t fully understand the training they are receiving, the necessity, and requirements for utilizing PPE, safety equipment, fall protection and fall arrest devices.

The language of safety is as important as the message being delivered. If the information is not delivered properly then it can’t be assumed that it’s being accurately understood. The importance of training is significant enough for OSHA to address it in their standards.

If the employee’s vocabulary is limited, the training must account for that limitation. By the same token, if employees are not literate, telling them to read training materials will not satisfy the employer’s training obligation.

As a general matter, employers are expected to realize that if they customarily need to communicate work instructions or other workplace information to employees at a certain vocabulary level or in language other than English, they will also need to provide safety and health training to employees in the same manner.

Of course, employers may also provide instruction in learning the English language to non-English speaking employees. Over time this may lessen the need to provide OSHA Act training in other languages. Additionally, OSHA’s training provisions contain a variety of specific requirements related to employee comprehension. Employers need to examine the standards applicable to their workplaces to be familiar with these specific requirements.

If you’re unable to effectively communicate your safety programs/training to your employees in a language they understand regardless of the industry or work environment, then please contact Safety By Design at (855) 747-2327. We have bilingual OSHA Outreach Trainers to ensure you’re not only complying with the OSHA standards, but to protect your employees, reduce their exposure, reduce your company’s liability and exposure to fines and possibly criminal prosecution.

Read this article in Spanish on the next page.

Safety By Design Consultant Services

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Grow Your Business with Tech in 2017

In a contractor’s day, there is no such thing as downtime. Therefore, when contractors told us one of their biggest challenges was not being able to access the tools they need to run their businesses anytime day or night we listened. It’s why ABC Supply created the ABC Connect program in 2015. This program makes it easier for contractors to work with us by integrating with trusted business-management systems—AccuLynx Quick Order and EagleView Construct—contractors are already using. ABC Connect helps contractors create estimates and place orders quickly and easily, so they can run their projects more efficiently.

ABC Connect also integrates with our Pictureit software to allow contractors to create virtual photo renderings that can shorten the customer decision cycle. Pictureit provides pre-mapped stock imagery, which includes more than 80 popular North American home styles, or you can upload a photo of your customer’s home.

So far more than 2,700 contractors have used the ABC Connect program. One of those users is Catherine Brenneman, the director of operations at Authority Roofing in Frisco, Texas. Brenneman’s role at the company is to identify business solutions that streamline operations, to save her team time and help the company stand out from competitors.

She recognized the need to bring more tech into her company’s way of doing business, so she turned to the ABC Supply Connect program, which integrates with her software system to provide 24/7 access to ABC Supply’s products and pricing. ABC Connect makes ordering building materials seamless, so Brenneman can place orders faster. The system also ensures the accuracy she expects, so the right product is selected, purchased and delivered.

Here are some ways ABC Connect boosted Authority Roofing’s business:

    Streamlined Ordering
    Authority Roofing’s business serves more than 30 cities across four counties, so new jobs come in constantly and the ordering process never stops. Because ABC Connect integrates with the software Brenneman already uses, she is able to easily turn material lists into orders as she receives them. And because orders are created electronically, the system can flag issues so mishaps are caught before they become problems that impact deliveries.

    Total Product Visibility
    Like any contractor, Brenneman knows what products her supplier offers. But even the most experienced professional needs to occasionally look up items and prices—especially the ones he or she does not frequently order. Instead of having to pick up the phone and talk to her supplier or visit a location, Brenneman has her entire ABC Supply branch’s product line at her fingertips and can search for the information she needs through the ABC Connect integration with her software. This gives her the opportunity to take on other projects during the day.

    Anytime Access
    Brenneman needed a way to place orders 24/7. Whether she’s at the job site, in the office or at home, ABC Connect’s integration with her software lets her turn an estimate into an order with just a few clicks.

By integrating technology like ABC Connect into your workflow, you will immediately see the benefits, from cutting the time it takes to create estimates and place orders to improving job-site safety.

Whether you are considering ABC Connect or another tech program, here are five areas of business that every contractor can improve with the use of technology.

    Managing a Job
    Technology yields two important benefits: you can store information electronically (including placed orders) and you can build material list templates. These benefits enable you to order (and reorder) materials faster. Project management software also enables you to keep every document, photo and/or video pertaining to a job in one place, which helps with organization, makes files more accessible, and makes it easier for you and your team to stay on the same page.

    Another advantage of working with an electronic project management program is that it can decrease costs associated with purchasing and printing paper while freeing up space that you’d otherwise need to store paper files.

    Communicating with the Team
    Your projects often involve many different people and hundreds of details. If one detail is missed, it could mean a project is delayed, costs more or has to be redone. To avoid this, make sure your crew is as connected and informed as possible on the job by embracing mobile apps and devices. Technology helps your crew better communicate with each other by allowing them to track and update jobs from the field so that everyone knows the current status of projects.

    Whether on a job site, in the truck or at the office, technology can help your team retrieve project status updates and communicate with each other and suppliers from anywhere, which can increase overall work production and efficiency.

    Estimating Projects More Accurately
    Accurate estimates can make or break a job. One of the benefits of using an aerial measurement program is that it can provide accurate measurements without requiring a crew member to climb onto a roof. Not only does this make things safer for your crew and reduce the chance of over or underestimating the amount of materials needed for a job, but using measurement programs that integrate with your supplier makes placing orders more accurate.

    Ordering Building Materials
    Contractors rarely have traditional 9-to-5 workdays, so it’s important to have the ability to place orders anytime, anywhere. The ABC Connect program makes ordering building materials seamless, so contractors can place orders online, 24/7. The system also ensures the accuracy contractors need by flagging issues before they impact a job and sending a confirmation notification when materials arrive at a job site.

    As you’re looking to add more tech solutions to your business, know that your supplier is also improving their processes with tech. For example, ABC Supply uses a delivery notification system that confirms when your crew receives the materials for a job.

    Working with Customers
    Not only does tech help improve your workflow, it also makes it easier to work with customers. Leveraging tech tools can help you bid faster and provide digital models of projects before they start. With online product visibility through tools like ABC Connect, you can quickly respond to potential customers by sending accurate information electronically. The ABC Connect program’s partnership with common software platforms also lets you distribute bids and reports that include your company’s customized branding.

    Using digital models of a job can help you amplify sales pitches by accurately showing prospective customers what their finished projects will look like before the job starts. Having the ability to work together with your customers to create digital photo renderings of their homes will also help them feel confident about the remodeling decisions that they are about to make.

    Keeping a Job Site Safe
    Technology can and should be used to improve safety. Here are some ways that it can help:

  • Limit salespeople’s time on elevated surfaces by capturing ultra-accurate images and dimensions from photos, drones and aerial imaging software.
  • Know if a job site is hazardous before you arrive using satellite imagery, and arrive safely using mobile mapping systems.
  • Anticipate structural faults without entering the building by using high-powered thermal cameras. This type of tool can also save you headaches and your customers money by identifying specific issues like punctures or gaps in roofs.

Visit ABC Supply’s blog or talk to an ABC Supply representative to learn how technology and the ABC Connect program can help you do more business, better, by harnessing the power of technology.

Metal Roof and Wall Panels Provide Industrial Aesthetic to Texas Ranch

Nearly 13,000 square feet of Petersen’s Galvalume Snap-Clad panels was used to clad the roof.

Nearly 13,000 square feet of Petersen’s Galvalume Snap-Clad panels was used to clad the roof.

As many architects can attest, designing a residence for oneself can present challenges. But architect Jack Carson rose to the occasion by creating a striking design for his new home, located on a ranch in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Design for the 7,000-square-foot residence follows LEED principles and blends a unique palette of “industrial” materials with ultra-modern aesthetics.

“The house is truly on a ranch. We have cattle on the property,” says Carson, president of Carson Design Associates in Austin, Texas. “We wanted to keep the design somewhat in the ranch vernacular but with a contemporary look. The reliance on metal for the roof and cladding and an exposed structure helped create a ranch building feel. We like to think of it as an ‘industrial ranch’ aesthetic.”

The primary wall panel profile utilized was Petersen’s Precision Series panels, of which 2,400 square feet of the 16-inch Galvalume material was installed.

The primary wall panel profile utilized was Petersen’s Precision Series panels, of which 2,400 square feet of the 16-inch Galvalume material was installed.

Several of Petersen Aluminum’s PAC-CLAD profiles contributed to Carson’s success in delivering the desired look. Nearly 13,000 square feet of Petersen’s Galvalume Snap-Clad panels was used to clad the roof. The 16-inch roof panels were rollformed onsite because of extremely tight site conditions and because the only access to the site was via a dirt road that wasn’t wide enough to allow large trucks to deliver factory-formed panels. An additional 3,000 square feet of Snap-Clad panels also was installed vertically as siding around two garages and at specific locations on the house as accent panels.

The primary wall panel profile utilized was Petersen’s Precision Series panels, of which 2,400 square feet of the 16-inch Galvalume material was installed. All wall panels were manufactured at Petersen’s Tyler, Texas, plant.

The underside of the overhanging soffit is clad with Ipe wood that ends with an edge that Carson and Brown describe as “the wing” or “the blade.”

The underside of the overhanging soffit is clad with Ipe wood that ends with an edge that Carson and Brown describe as “the wing” or “the blade.”

The onsite fabrication of the roof panels and the installation of all roof and wall panels was performed by Dean Contracting Co., Kyle, Texas. “The greatest challenge was executing the architects dream for his home,” recalls Jesse Brown, vice president of Dean Contracting. “The design included a myriad of varying geometric shapes on many different planes and a blend of materials that required complex detailing. It was probably one of the top-five most challenging jobs that we have ever done.”

The Petersen profiles highlight the material palette, which also includes Texas limestone sourced directly from the property on which the home sits, Ipe wood, steel beams and a generous amount of glass. “We have great views into the valley with no neighbors,” Carson adds. “A large overhanging soffit covers a large portion of the deck and shades all of the glass.”

The underside of the overhanging soffit is clad with Ipe wood that ends with an edge that Carson and Brown describe as “the wing” or “the blade.” Fabricated with Alcoa Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM), this transitional element smoothly links the standing-seam roof with the overhanging wood-clad soffit. Petersen functioned as distributor of the Reynobond ACM.

Fabricated with Alcoa Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM), this transitional element smoothly links the standing-seam roof with the overhanging wood-clad soffit.

Fabricated with Alcoa Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM), this transitional element smoothly links the standing-seam roof with the overhanging wood-clad soffit.

The decision to use Petersen for the roof and siding was arrived at rather easily. Carson notes: “I was familiar with PAC-CLAD and wanted to use it but also wanted to rely on the builder’s recommendations regarding materials and subcontractors. In our very first meeting with the roofer, Dean Contracting, they brought in samples of PAC-CLAD and recommended using it. That made the decision pretty easy.”

Carson is a big believer in metal as a roofing and cladding material. “We wanted to be as maintenance-free as possible. And sustainability was an important component as well,” Carson says. “We used LEED principles in our design. Metal is far greener than asphalt shingles and other alternatives. It’s just a great option for residential construction.”

The installation went smoothly, Carson adds, primarily because he relied on the expertise of Dean Contracting. “My approach is to listen to the experts. Jesse Brown and his crew worked out the complex detailing. They use metal all the time and are extremely capable. We collaborated as necessary but I basically left it in their hands.”

The Petersen profiles highlight the material palette, which also includes Texas limestone sourced directly from the property on which the home sits, Ipe wood, steel beams and a generous amount of glass.

The Petersen profiles highlight the material palette, which also includes Texas limestone sourced directly from the property on which the home sits, Ipe wood, steel beams and a generous amount of glass.

Brown was quick to give full credit to the crew that was led by Juan Rojas, sheet-metal superintendent. Rojas is a 24-year employee of Dean Contracting and Brown cites Rojas’ attention to function and precise detailing as a main reason why the job turned out so well.

The house—in spite of its size and location in the hot Texas climate and the large amount of glass—is energy efficient. Two inches of rigid insulation was installed under the metal roof and an additional 4 inches of sprayed insulation went under the roof deck. “The heavy insulation and the shade provided by the overhang makes it very energy efficient. The house stays a very constant temperature,” Carson says.

The entire property captures rainwater in 18,000-gallon collection tanks, which is yet another reason for using metal, Carson points out.

When asked about the challenge of designing for yourself, Carson thought it was easier than designing for a traditional client. “I was probably more demanding in ‘getting it right’, but once I knew I had the right design and materials, I didn’t have to convince myself that it was the best direction. There was no negotiation or comprising the design in any way,” Carson says. “The biggest problem any architect has in designing for themselves is in ‘editing out.’ We know all of the possibilities, and being able to prioritize and filter out the unnecessary options is often the hardest challenge.”

PHOTOS: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

Lightweight and Fire-resistant Polymer Roofing Tops Tennessee Multipurpose Center

Opened in late 2013, the multipurpose LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge in Tennessee includes 232,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space in a sprawling lodge-type setting. Topping off the impressive structure is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles to complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

Topping off the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles, which complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

Topping off the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles, which complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

“The size of this complex plus the building code limitations made it impossible for us to specify weighty, expensive real slate for the roof,” says Michael Smelcer, principal with SRA Architects Inc. “After researching our options, we selected the DaVinci Valoré Slate product because of aesthetics, weight and Class A fire classification. The owners of the center were very open to using this particular polymer slate roofing because it gave them the mountain lodge look they desired.”

Single-width Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles resemble the classic traditional slate tile found on upscale projects throughout the world. Available in 12-inch tile widths, the 1/2-inch-thick Valoré Slate tiles are twice the thickness of most other synthetic slates. The roofing tiles come in a full spectrum of authentic slate colors and are made of pure virgin resins to guarantee a sustainable product. The 100 percent recyclable tiles resist impact, fire, hail, insects and algae.

Built over a two-year time frame by the team at Merit Construction Inc., Knoxville, Tenn., the LeConte Center has a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 14 multipurpose rooms of varying sizes, along with pre-function and kitchen space, loading docks and spacious lobbies. Outdoor patios overlook the Little Pigeon River with views of Mount LeConte from many angles.

“Because of the close proximity to Little Pigeon River, our site design had to be low-impact,” Smelcer adds. “This included underground detention, rain gardens, vegetated swales and permeable pavers. We’ve provided similar architectural work for other large facilities, so our firm was confident in our ability to meet the design needs of this exciting project.”

The roof on the LeConte Center was installed by Detail Slate and Tile, Greenville, S.C. “We install several DaVinci roofs each year on residential and commercial projects,” says Joe Whitmore, vice president of operations for Detail Slate and Tile. “This was the largest project we’ve had the opportunity to install polymer roofing material and it went very smoothly. The result is a roof that blends in with its natural setting, is very durable, requires virtually no maintenance and will last for decades to come.”

Roofing Problem Areas

Flat roofs are prone to ponding water.

Flat roofs are prone to ponding water.

Facilities maintenance issues can have a major impact on productivity in industrial and commercial environments with something as small as a leaking roof causing significant disruption and downtime. Years of experience suggest that 90 percent of the problems we are presented with today will arise from a mere 10 percent of the roof’s total area. But are some roof types and roof areas more susceptible to damage than others? Moreover, how do these roofing problems arise and how can they be categorized?

Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are commonly chosen for industrial and commercial buildings, covering the vast majority of offices, factories and warehouses around the globe. However, despite their popularity, my firm’s experience indicates that the bulk of roofing applications owe to the failings of flat roofs. This begs the question; do the benefits of flat roofs outweigh the disadvantages?

Currently, the flat roofing market is in a particularly healthy state. It is easy to see why because flat roofs do in fact offer a great deal of advantages. Notably, they are a low-cost option for many projects, being easier and more economical to install, inspect and maintain. Therefore, they prove highly popular with many commercial facilities and industrial buildings.

However, flat roofs are historically problematic, suffering from an array of issues commonly arising from standing water and traditional roofing materials. Pooling of water on roofs can be attributed to inadequate roofing materials or, strangely, a roof being “too flat”. Flat roofs should actually feature a small gradient to allow sufficient rainwater run-off; otherwise, the weight of water pooling can lead to deflection and numerous subsequent issues.

Roof flashings can prove problematic due to dissimilar materials.

Roof flashings can prove problematic due to dissimilar materials.

Of course, other roof variations, such as pitched or slanted roofs, will offer their own range of complications; however, complications with pooling water are not among these. This distinct disadvantage is one of several that can lead to serious problems within that troublesome 10 percent. The most common problems can be split into three separate categories.

Dissimilar Materials
Most roofs form a veritable patchwork of materials, including anything from glass and plastics to masonry and metals. Industrial roofs can be particularly troublesome as they boast a multitude of pipes, heating units and other protrusions that make the roof geometry complex to cover effectively. Whatever the combination of roofing materials is, ensuring long-term adhesion and sealing between all these dissimilar materials is crucial—and can prove problematic.

Flashings fall into this category and are a common fixture of flat and pitched roofs, where metal, brick and felt or bitumen can often all meet. Exposed to varying temperatures and weather conditions, these materials can act differently, altering shape and size dependent upon that material’s characteristics. This can result in roofing weakness due to different expansion and contraction rates of the materials, allowing for water ingress through developing gaps. Moreover, this category includes areas where two metals may meet. Dissimilar metals exposed to continuous weathering can potentially lead to galvanic corrosion, which deteriorates the roof’s protection, loosening the materials and once again leading to issues like leaking.

Joints and Seams
Joints and seams spell considerable trouble for many roofs, predominantly due to the effects of movement. All buildings will feature a degree of movement as a result of thermal expansion, contraction and wind, making joints and seams one of the most vulnerable areas. Resulting gaps or lips can be created, increased further by wind uplift, which may allow water ingress or exposure of unprotected materials to corrosion and weathering.

Seams around skylights and roof protrusions can cause roof vulnerabilities.

Seams around skylights and roof protrusions can cause roof vulnerabilities.

Found whenever two materials meet, joints and seams are a common sight on industrial roofs and one that occurs frequently on roofs covered using traditional materials. For instance, felt or bitumen surfaces are layered in strips and require heat to fuse them together and create one barrier of protection. However, continuous exposure to the elements can lead to delamination of the roofing material, creating areas of vulnerability, such as lips.

Similarly, parapet walls can also become vulnerable at the joints, normally caused by movement between the brickwork. This can develop through movement in the building or perhaps vegetation forcing through the joint, widening any gaps further and causing moisture ingress. Furthermore, this problem is shared by the seams around skylights and glazing bars, which degrade over time due to the dissimilar materials present and associated movement.

Unlike other problem areas in this category, cut-edge corrosion does not stem from two materials meeting. In fact, it falls into this category as it is an uncoated seam of metal that, left exposed, will corrode and result in the damage spreading as the metal is slowly eaten away. Corrugated metal roofs are susceptible as they are cut and the edges never receive protection, meaning when cut-edge corrosion begins, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. In certain instances, roof sheets need to be removed and replaced, which is extremely expensive.

Metals seams are often neglected and can develop cut-edge corrosion

Metals seams are often neglected and can develop cut-edge corrosion.

Other Forms of Damage
Lastly, roofs are susceptible to various forms of damage in the immediate and long term. Long-term damage will generally arise if roofing is left unmaintained, to suffer from aging and neglect. A key example of this type of damage involves single-ply roof coverings. Over time, rubber roofing materials are subjected to the environment and constant UV exposure. Once again, over this period the material expands and contracts, becoming brittle and losing its former flexibility, making it prone to cracking.

In addition to weathering, wildlife can have a detrimental effect on roofing materials, as bird litter can chemically attack the plastic coating on some roofing systems. High levels can cause damage and subsequent deterioration of the lining, which can potentially lead to leaks or exposure of metal to corrosion.

With regard to immediate damage, working on roofs is also a common way in which damage can occur. As highlighted before, one of the key selling points of flat roofs is the ability to carry out maintenance and inspection easily. Whether it derives from maintenance or rooftop developments, such as HVAC installation, extensions or rooftop fire escapes, the foot traffic over flat roofs can lead to immediate damage of the roofing substrate, through piercing and general wear.

Over time, rubber roofing materials can become brittle and crack

Over time, rubber roofing materials can become brittle and crack.

Eliminating the Troublesome 10 Percent

For the majority of these problems, it is possible to find a repair solution. However, when left without treatment, the roof can become too damaged to refurbish, leaving costly replacement as the only option. Repair methods have evolved significantly over the years and eliminating the troublesome 10 percent is becoming far easier to do since the advent of liquid and cold-applied technologies. Not only does this signify a breaking of tradition, but crucially highlights the evolution of roofing maintenance materials.

PHOTOS: Belzona

UL-listed Smoke Vent Skylights Minimize Warehouse’s Power Consumption

Trojan Battery, a manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries, occupies a 160,000-square-foot industrial facility in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., along with several other large industrial buildings in California. Each facility consumes a significant amount of electrical power each month. By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs.

By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

According to a representative of Santa Ana, Calif.-based IRC (Independent Roofing Consultants), a roofing consulting firm: “Typically, a 2 percent density of skylight units are utilized for effective energy reduction. Densities of 2.5 to 3 percent are being provided for newer buildings and being installed in conjunction with roof replacements to reduce energy costs associated with building lighting.”

The roof originally consisted of outdated skylights significantly reducing the benefits of natural lighting. New polycarbonate dome skylights and smoke vents from SKYCO Skylights allow owners to maximize the use of free daylighting. Additional benefits include 10 years against yellowing and breakage.

Aside from the energy benefits, Trojan Battery was able to reduce its safety liability. UL-listed smoke vents with polycarbonate domes not only provide ample daylighting, but they are life-saving devices. The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

Fire marshals and insurance companies recognize the benefits of a UL-listed smoke vent skylight because they allow the smoke, heat and hot gasses inside a burning warehouse to escape providing trapped workers a visible route for safe exit. They also reduce smoke damage to warehouse inventories. In many cases, insurance companies will provide a much needed break on rates when UL-listed smoke vents are added to the rooftop.

The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

The reroof was performed by Highland Commercial Roofing, Baldwin Park, Calif. The commercial roofer specializes in and provided Trojan Battery headquarters with a RainShield seamless single-ply roofing system. The RainShield system, reinforced with a tough polyester mat, uses waterproofing-grade asphalts and highly reflective elastomeric acrylic surfacing to create a seamless, waterproof, highly reflective membrane providing a permanent, high-performance roofing system guaranteed not to leak for at least 20 years. The cool roof system chosen reflects more than 80 percent of the sun’s radiant heat, which can reduce a building’s cooling cost by as much as 50 percent.

With average temperatures and power costs rising, building owners and occupant are looking for new innovative ways to save money. Highland Commercial Roofing recommends a complete analysis of the skylights when owners consider reroofing their building. Replacing old, ineffective skylights at the time of reroof is the most cost effective method for the investment.

Polymer Roofing Stands Up to Wichita, Kan., Weather

The morning of April 2, 2015, started out clear and sunny for residents at the Harbor Isle community in Wichita, Kan. By evening, a powerful microburst with winds reaching up to 100 mph destroyed a bulk of the roofs in the subdivision——except polymer roofs installed by Heiland Roofing and Exteriors, Wichita.

Polymer roofs installed by Heiland Roofing and Exteriors, Wichita, received very little if any damage during the microburst.

Polymer roofs installed in the Harbor Isle subdivision by Heiland Roofing and Exteriors, Wichita, received very little if any damage during the microburst.

“The majority of concrete tiles sustained very serious damage with many others demolished,” says Mike Heiland, president of Heiland Roofing and Exteriors. “Of the three composite roofs we installed in this community, one home had zero damage, another home had one missing ridge cap, and the third home needed approximately 10 feet of ridge replaced. That’s absolutely nothing compared to the devastation that all the other homes in that neighborhood experienced.”

According to homeowner Paul Dugan, roofing debris littered the entire Harbor Isle community after the storm. “Concrete roof tiles were thrown through neighbor’s windows, into vehicles parked along the streets and in driveways,” Dugan says. “A couple of the homes that had been recently reroofed by Heiland Roofing with polymer shake roofing tiles had every single tile in place and no visible damage to the property. I was very impressed and called Heiland Roofing the next morning.”

HOA Selects Polymer Roofing

A distant relative to a tornado, the National Weather Service, Washington, D.C., defines a microburst as sinking air (or a downdraft) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2 1/2 miles in scale. A microburst can develop as a result of cooling beneath a thunderstorm cloud base or because of mid-level dry air entrainment.

Wet, dry and hybrid microburst distinctions exist. With each of these, significant straight-line wind damage can occur, resulting in snapped power poles and tree and roof damage. There can also be a loss of power and potential hail. In Wichita on April 2, all these factors occurred when strong straight-line winds hit the area before a bow echo thunderstorm. With an appearance like a comma—a round head on one end and a tail on the other—a bow echo thunderstorm moves rapidly. Generally, the atmosphere is unstable during these moisture-laden storms and wind shear is present, making bow echo thunderstorms very dangerous.

a powerful microburst with winds reaching up to 100 mph destroyed a bulk of the roofs in the subdivision

A powerful microburst with winds reaching up to 100 mph destroyed a bulk of the roofs in the subdivision.

Kansas residents are no strangers to severe weather. Located in Tornado Alley, most homeowners, like Dugan, understand their state is subject to unusually strong weather during the course of the year. That’s why many people, like the residents of Harbor Isle, seek out durable building products to help protect their homes and families.

“When constructed about 18 years ago, our community had wood shake and concrete tiles used for roofing,” says Dee Manning, president of the Harbor Isle I homeowner association, which consists of 59 homes. “As the years went on, the wood shakes were wearing out and, at the same time, they became harder to get insured. We wanted an alternative that was realistic looking but lightweight enough to be installed over the existing roof trusses of the homes in our community. We did our research and found a polymer roof tile that was a realistic alternative to natural cedar shakes. Our community started offering polymer products three years ago as an option for homeowners looking for replacement roofing.”

Polymer Roofs Gain Foothold

After the microburst, the homeowners’ association received notice that 15 to 20 roofs, plus a variety of decks, were damaged.

“Nothing will protect a home from Mother Nature if a tornado is sitting right on top of you,” Heiland says. “But if you’re on the outskirts and just getting pounding hail or strong winds, at least a manmade polymer roof will give your home a fighting chance.”

For almost a dozen years Heiland and his team have recommended and installed imitation slate and synthetic shake roofing products. “The look and durability of these imitation slate and synthetic shake shingles is simply incredible,” Heiland notes. “For our geographic area—and any part of the country that can get severe weather—the impact resistance of these products is a tremendous asset. In the many years I’ve been installing polymer roofing, we’ve never had one of their roofs totaled by hail.”

Fifteen to 20 roofs, plus a variety of decks, were damaged during the storm.

Fifteen to 20 roofs, plus a variety of decks, were damaged during the storm.

Made of 100 percent recyclable virgin resins, the polymer tiles installed on the Harbor Isle homes are engineered to resist fire, impact, insects and algae. The products are Class A-rated for fire retardance, have achieved a Class 4 impact rating and passed the TAS-100 certification test for wind-driven rain. The durable products have also passed the maximum of 110 mph in the ASTM D 3161 Standard for straight-line winds and achieved very high design pressures in TAS-125, a test to demonstrate wind uplifts and acceptability to be installed in High Velocity Hurricane Zones.

“After the microburst in April, there are at least 10 homes ready to commit to the polymer tiles to replace their destroyed concrete tile roofs,” Manning says.

Dugan was one of the homeowners ready for change. “I now have a [polymer] roof that looks exactly the same as the concrete tile roof but has the highest impact resistance in the industry,” he says. “The impressive interlocking system allows for installation with securing the tile in all four corners so we’re not going to worry about tiles peeling back and blowing away in future storms.”

Roof Materials

Bellaforté Slate from DaVinci Roofscapes

PHOTOS: DaVinci Roofscapes